“People had a three-dimensional appreciation of nature... they included wells underground and trees over ground. We have lost that imagination. Bengaluru had a tradition of ornamental gardens suited to its ecology. Now, we have landscaped exotic parks with very little bio-diversity support,” said Harini Nagendra, Director of Azim Premji University Research Center, at the 18th International Conference on Public Policy & Management, hosted by the Centre for Public Policy (CPP) at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) between August 22 and 24.
The pre-conference lecture on ‘Making Bangalore an Ecologically Smart City’ was delivered by Prof. Nagendra on August 22 in memory of Prof. M.R. Krishnamurthy, textile management expert, nephew of Sir M. Vivesvaraya and staunch Bengalurean, while keeping with the conference’s theme of sustainability.
“In the Global South, and especially in India, cities are under provisioned to provide basic infrastructure, but have unprecedented rapid rates of growth. The challenge of urban sustainability is growing, especially along the periphery. Yet, there is an utter lack of data, from research papers, on urban sustainability. So, we get studies and ill-fitting solutions from contexts, which are not ours,” she observed.
Prof. Harini Nagendra remarked that the nature in cities is part of their culture, and so it becomes important to involve the residents, through collective management, in conservation efforts while exploring the idea of ecological smartness, or going back to roots.
Speaking about what more can be done in Bengaluru, she said, “Find nature-based, not just tech-focused solutions. Focus on home-grown solutions, pay attention to ecological wisdom, and keep communities at the centre while building a different imagination when it comes to conservation.”